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Archive for the 'Great blue herons' Category

What happened to the goldfish in my backyard pond?

Great blue heron photo by Dave Harper, Oakley, CA.
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Ever wondered what happened to the goldfish in your backyard pond?

Maybe a great blue heron stopped by for a visit one day when you weren’t looking.

As far as a heron is concerned … a pond is a pond is a pond … whether it be a wild pond in the middle of an oak woodland area, or an artificial pond in your backyard by the patio.

These great birds see it all, I’m sure, as they fly over our suburban dwellings.

Make sure your ponds are deep with rocks on the bottom where the fish can hide. /Gary

Posted on Thursday, July 12th, 2012
Under: Great blue herons | 1 Comment »

Great blue heron captures HUGE bullfrog for dinner

Great blue heron capture huge bullfrog. Photo by Cathy Navarro, Livermore, CA
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Gary:
I went camping at Lake Camanche, CA, this past weekend and took this photo of a great blue heron eating a bullfrog right in front of our campsite in the Peninsula campground. Thought you might like to run this photo.
Cathy Navarro, Livermore, California

Cathy:
What a great shot! People rarely get a chance to observe a great blue heron capturing a bullfrog, let alone get a photograph of it! Nice going!

At over 4 feet tall (50+ inches) great blue herons are the largest (and most beautiful, in my opinion!) heron in the U.S. and with that long, sharp, sword-like beak, they can tackle just about anything, including this HUGE bullfrog. With their long legs, they wade through shallow water, spearing and feeding on frogs, aquatic insects and fish. They also commonly hunt on dry land, looking for small birds, mammals, lizards, snakes and anything else that moves, wiggles or crawls.

They are also frequently spotted in marshland areas around the San Francisco Bay Area. I regularly see one as I travel between Walnut Creek and Benicia, hunting in the large marshy area around the Marina Off-ramp off of northbound Hwy. 680, just before the Benicia Bridge.

Back in the days (1970s) when  I used to run the wildlife rescue center at the Lindsay Wildlife Museum in Walnut Creek, CA, I required all my volunteers to wear heavy gloves and unbreakable clear plastic face shields when caring for the occasional injured great blue that was brought to our center.

I didn’t want anyone to end up like this bullfrog! /Gary

Posted on Friday, July 22nd, 2011
Under: Great blue herons | 1 Comment »

Great blue heron: Yum! Fish for breakfast!

By Jim Kardos, Walnut Creek, CA
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A great blue heron flies off with a fish for breakfast at Lafayette Reservoir, in Lafayette, California. Photo by Jim Kardos, Walnut Creek, CA.

The great blue heron, our largest heron at 50-plus inches tall, will stand quietly in shallow water until a fish swims by and then grab it with its long bill. They are truly beautiful birds, as you can see! /Gary

Posted on Friday, December 3rd, 2010
Under: Great blue herons | No Comments »

Great Blue Heron Rookery — where these big, beautiful herons nest

Great blue heron by Joe Oliver, Walnut Creek, Calif.
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Gary:
The other day someone wrote your column about seeing the many great blue herons together.

Have I got a treat for you!

A great blue heron rookery exists in the eucalyptus trees at EBMUD Watershed Headquarters in Orinda, Calif. I checked it out the past 2 years in the spring and it is amazing!
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, April 24th, 2009
Under: Birds, Great blue herons, nesting | 3 Comments »